PHOENIX — Kansas center Jeff Withey and Ohio State hybrid forward Deshaun Thomas highlighted an all-big workout for the Suns on Thursday. Withey’s shotblocking and Thomas’ scoring mentality could have them both pigeonholed as one-trick ponies, and each did enough to show they’re more complete players.
Either could be an option for Phoenix to take 30th overall.
They were joined by Brazilian big man Augusto Cesar Lima, athletic Minnesota forward Rodney Williams, Colorado State center Colton Iverson and Kennesaw State forward Aaron Anderson.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said that the center depth in this year’s draft is especially great. And if Phoenix takes a shooting guard with its fifth pick, that will greatly increase the chance that a big man could be on deck to be selected later on, as McDonough said he doesn’t like to double up on positions.
Against Iverson, who has a good 30 pounds on Withey, the skinny big man held his own to unsurprisingly display his shotblocking ability.
[RELATED: Jeff Withey's draft profile]
“You can have a skinny frame … but if you know the proper positioning, when to push, when not to push, when to take a hit, when not to,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “I think he’s learned over the years, with his body frame, he’s learned those little tricks. When he has some space to jump, he’s got great timing.
That wasn’t a big surprise. Offensively, Withey said he wanted to show he’s a consistent midrange jump shooter.
“You didn’t get to see him shoot a whole lot at Kansas. I think he’ll be a decent-to-good spotup shooting from 14 to 16 feet,” Hornacek said.
Meanwhile, Thomas’ love of scoring was on full display Thursday, but he has the ability to break the mold of being a trigger-happy shooter.
[RELATED: Deshaun Thomas draft profile]
“He can put the ball on the floor a little bit, make plays for others,” Hornacek said. “He’s always going to have that scoring mentality and that’s what he’ll look to do first. He’s good enough at that he’ll be able to make plays off of that.”
Hornacek did, however, question Thomas’ range, which was limited to 18 feet.
The most interesting character at the workout was Anderson, a Marana Mountain View High School prospect who grew up as a Suns fan. He was called up from Tucson, presumably, to add another body and hadn’t worked out for any other team. He will likely play in Europe next season.
And in general, McDonough said that while draft workouts are winding down — Phoenix has more on Friday and Saturday — he’s already comfortable with what he knows. Mostly, he’ll be looking to find out where other teams are picking so the Suns aren’t caught off guard come next week.
“I’m very comfortable with where we are,” he said. “I feel good about the depth of this draft. I could have the draft today, I’d be fine. I’m ready to go if you could have the commissioner speed it up a little bit.”
Suns dropping purple from logos?
It wasn’t a big surprise that Phoenix is dabbing out the purple in its color scheme. After all, the Halloween-like court was one sign. So too was the emergence of the old black alternate jerseys.
New logos were leaked and the NBA.com store is already posting shirts with some new-look colors. SportsLogos.net has a good number of pictures to check out.
It’s unclear when exactly the Suns would officially announce changes to the logos and colors, but it appears to be on the horizon.
On another fashion-related note, more NBA teams are expected to play with sleeved jerseys a la the Golden State Warriors. Kendall Marshall is praying the Suns are not one of the select teams to participate.
Quotable: Jeff Withey on playing with the Morris twins, who attending his workout on Thursday: “It’d be crazy if Ben (McLemore) went here too and then you’d have a whole team of Kansas guys. But you can’t have your heart set on any of those things. I wanted to show people that I can shoot the ball. That’s something I’ve been working on, that 15-foot jump shot.”
Ben McLemore’s stock drops with concerns over conditioning
Rumors have surfaced that Kansas Jayhawks shooting guard Ben McLemore may have struggled with conditioning in his workout with the Suns and another with the Orlando Magic, according to Chad Ford’s latest mock draft. The Suns have earned the reputation of having an especially difficult conditioning drill to end each workout.
Multiple sources told me that his workout in Phoenix was not impressive; he wasn’t in shape, and he struggled to keep up in the workout. I heard similar things in Orlando. McLemore is in a tug-of-war right now between adviser Rodney Blackstock and his agency Rivals. It’s kept McLemore out of the gym and for the most part, out of workouts. How much will all of this affect the draft stock? I’m told teams are worried.
Ford has the Suns selecting McLemore anyway, but he adds that a C.J. McCollum or Michael Carter-Williams pick wouldn’t surprise him either.
[RELATED: Ben McLemore draft profile]
Jeff Hornacek to coach Suns Summer League squad
Jeff Hornacek will get his coaching juices flowing by coaching the Summer League team, but it’s more a matter of him implementing his coaching style on the young Suns that will likely have large roles next season. Hornacek said that the biggest sticking point he wants to get across is selfless play.
“When you win 25 games, there’s a lot of selfish play,” Hornacek said. “Hopefully our guys will understand that as we work on it. Everybody is going to get their fair share of shots if we move the ball.”
Each team will play three games for seeding and then enter a tournament in this season’s new format. Teams will all play a minimum of five games.
Here’s a look at the Summer League schedule for Phoenix:
Saturday, July 13
5:30 p.m. PT – Phoenix vs. Portland (Game 9) at Thomas & Mack Center
Monday, July 15
3:30 p.m. PT – Minnesota vs. Phoenix (Game 22) at Thomas & Mack Center
Tuesday, July 16
5:30 p.m. PT – Phoenix vs. Memphis (Game 31) at Thomas & Mack Center
Playoffs are July 17-22
If you haven’t heard, Alvin Gentry has gone through two rounds of interviews with the Memphis Grizzlies, who are looking to replace Lionel Hollins, according to Yahoo! Sports. The thought of Gentry in Memphis seems quite appealing. He’s a motivator and can get the most out of veteran talent. It’d also be nice for him to get another shot at coaching a playoff squad following his ugly leave from Phoenix.